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Jon Oliva's Pain
Festival

Company: AFM Records
Release: 2010
Genre: Hard Rock
Reviewer: EC

  • All over the place



  • I can remember one strange moment in my life where I simultaneously purchased John Denver's "Greatest Hits" on the same day as Pantera's "Reinventing The Steel" release. I purchased both with one fell swoop of the debit card and the music store clerk thought I had lost my marbles. Looking back on that day and the strange combination of Americana and hardcore metal flowing out of my speakers...well it sort of brings me to Jon Oliva's new release "Festival".

    Oliva has created so many abstract projects since his departure from 'Tage in 1992. Since then we've seen some Floridian dead ahead metal with Doctor Butcher, some symphonic events with the first Jon Oliva's Pain album "'Taje Majal" and an almost return to the Hall with sophomore effort "Maniacal Renderings". I don't know where the mindset is these days with the legendary vocalist but for me personally he is just all over the place, almost the Devin Townsend of power-prog if you will.

    I did not care for the last record "Global Warming" and its ELO/Styx influenced metal hybrid. New release "Festival" follows the same footsteps. The album was produced in Florida with famed knob turner Tom Morris. The group also picked up an extra guitarist with Tom McDyne, adding just a small amount of dynamics to the previous five-piece. The group also picked up a new record deal after the crash-boom of SPV Steamhammer's financial downfall. The band land on what will probably be their best marriage, AFM Records.

    Oliva's Pain mixes in two really great songs into the batch this go around. I love the pounding hooves of "Death Rides A Black Horse" with its rambunctious keys, thick groove and Rothney's Geezer-like bass lines. The lyrics give plenty of dark visual imagery and honestly this may be the best song Oliva has collaborated on since Savatage. The equally impressive "Living On The Edge" is probably the most metallic of the bunch, a speedy gallop with huge gang chorus portions and Oliva's madman screech. From there...well its just all over the place. "Lies" and the title track showcases some of the present day happenings with the W.A.S.P and Alice Cooper camp with a thick wallop, strained vocals, extremely loose and almost jazzy skins and an almost hollow-tuned production value. It wouldn't a Jon Oliva album without tons of piano and keys throughout, dominating wimpy noodle tracks like "Now" (almost Elton John) and the Queen-like "Afterglow". The album has two solid cuts, two average at best selections and the rest is your 70s hybrid of Styx, Queen and the occasional Elton John/Billy Joel moment.


    About this Writer:
    Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.

    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: JOHN OLIVA'S PAIN
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    FestivalJohn Oliva's Pain
    2010
    Eric Compton4/2/2010
    Maniacal RenderingsJohn Oliva's Pain
    2006
    Eric Compton11/9/2006
    Tage MahalJohn Oliva's Pain
    2005
    Ken Pierce1/27/2005


    ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: JOHN OLIVA'S PAIN

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    ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: JOHN OLIVA'S PAIN
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